Knights In Service of God And Neighbor

Escorted by Knights of Columbus, women from the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary, Dames of the Holy Sepulchre and Dames of Malta bring up the gifts of bread and wine to the altar. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

Megan Marley

The days of plate armor and fiefdoms may be past, but the knightly ideals of chivalry and service to God and neighbor still live on through the Knights (and Ladies) of the Holy Sepulchre, Malta, Peter Claver and Columbus.

They don’t necessarily get together to take up the sword in literal battle or tournament, but they did muster forces on August 16 for a third annual Mass and a reception with Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr.

The Mass held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception recognized their service to God and the Church. In his homily, Bishop Johnston used the analogy of an archer to encourage them to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in their work.

“If an archer is just a little bit off with his aim when he shoots the arrow, by the time it reaches its target it’s going to be way off, a lot further off than it was in the beginning,” he said.

Similarly, “if whatever we undertake does not begin with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will eventually miss its target.”

“You’re already Christians when you enter whatever order you’re in, but the orders you belong to,” he said, “exist to help you be better Christians to reinforce your identity, and to direct your mission in the right direction. In other words, the various orders that you represent help you to answer the most important questions of life: Who am I? What am I here for? What matters the most?”

Bishop Johnston said that in the Gospel reading for the Mass Jesus does this this too with his disciples, calling them to take up their crosses and follow Him.

“I know a little bit about all of the orders here tonight, and that’s what I think they’re all about—they’re about following Jesus by taking up our cross and denying ourselves.”

“This is not easy to do. It’s a radical demand to forget ourselves. But our incentive for doing this is also mentioned in the Gospel tonight—the incentive for taking up our cross and embracing this radical commitment is the prospect of our Father’s judgment, and the basis of which we will all be judged is our conduct.”

He spoke of the scandals of former-Cardinal McCarrick and the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

“It’s likely that Jesus also gets us ready for judgment by at times allowing a preview of our judgment—this is not always pleasant, and most often something that we would like to avoid.”

“You know, if we can’t withstand the judgment of this world, how are we going to face the judgment of the living God?” he said. “I think that as awful as this is, as angry as we are, as betrayed as we feel, perhaps this is a sign of the Lord’s mercy. Our Lord desires a church of integrity, especially from our shepherds. I think he’s trying to help us to get ready for a more awesome, fearful judgment.”

“And while we all are affected by the sins of others within the body, we also have the ability to bless one another, to build one another up in the communion of saints.”

“That’s the ultimate truth about our Church—it is a holy communion made up of saints, yes also sinners.”

“Tonight as your bishop I want to thank you all for striving to follow the Lord, striving to take up your own crosses whatever they are in your life, and I just want to urge all of you to strive even more to dedicate yourself day by day to Jesus Christ and to his teaching.”

“See your cross as a guidepost, and even a bridge, a connection to Jesus. You’ll not only be preparing for your judgment, you’ll be strengthening the entire body of Christ to which you belong.”

After Mass, a reception was held down the street at the Quaff Bar & Grill.

For more information on the knights orders visit their websites.
Knights of Columbus:; Knights of Peter Claver:; Knights of the Holy Sepulchre:; and Knights of Malta:


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October 30, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph